The five bills on the agenda for Oregon's special legislative session are finally on the move. Nearly two full days after lawmakers arrived in Salem, a legislative panel voted Tuesday evening to advance the measures out to the floor. The full legislature could vote on them Wednesday.
The five measures are the fruits of negotiations between Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber and four top legislative leaders. But it's never been clear that there are enough yes votes among the rank and file for the bills to pass. Typically, when legislation clears a committee it's a good sign that it will succeed on the House or Senate floor. But some lawmakers on the panel warned their colleagues that they were green-lighting the bills only as a courtesy to keep things moving. This is Democratic representative Phil Barnhart.
Phil Barnhart: "I want to let the chairs and the committee know that I intend to support all similar motions to this motion tonight. It does not suggest how I'm likely to vote on any of the bills once they reach the House floor."
Those bills include some targeted tax hikes and tax cuts. Another would trim cost of living increases for retired public employees. Kitzhaber has said he won't sign any of the special session measures unless all of them come to his desk.
Information about Special Session: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/Pages/SpecialSession.aspx